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What Kettlebell Weight Should a Woman Use?

Kettlebell training is a great workout choice for people of all ages and fitness levels. However, the amount of weight you should use is highly variable depending on a myriad of factors. One of the biggest determinants of what weight you should choose is gender.

Because women have less muscle mass than men, they have different requirements for their kettlebell weight range. That doesn’t mean that kettlebell training isn’t just as effective for women as it is for men. The kettlebell weight should a woman use depends on the type of training and the fitness level of the individual.

What Weight Kettlebell Should a Woman Use?

The average weight kettlebell women should use is between 6 kg to 8 kg, which will be roughly 15 lbs. However, the type of kettlebell exercises you do also play a significant role in the kettlebell weight you should use.

For example, if your workout routine includes kettlebell swings, women should use kettlebells that weigh between 6 kg to 12 kg, which is equal to about 13 lbs to 26 lbs. If your exercise routine includes overhead presses, you can use kettlebells that weigh between 8 kg to 12 kg, or 17 lbs to 26 lbs. ​

Woman trying to lift a kettlebell

How Much Weight Should a Woman Lift?

One of the main reasons why most women lift kettlebells is to build lean muscles. However, because of the differences in height and weight, the amount of weight women lift is completely different for every woman. The amount of weight you can lift depends on your strength level.

If you are an active woman, the average kettlebell weight you should lift is between 6 kg to 8 kg, which will be roughly 15 lbs. For athletic women, the average kettlebell weight you should lift is between 8 kg to 12 kgs, or 17 lbs to 26 lbs.

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Is Kettlebell Training Effective?

Kettlebells are highly effective weights that can fit into almost any workout routine. They can be used for strength training, cardio, and flexibility all with just one compact piece of equipment. Additionally, they are highly accessible to people of all ages and ability levels.

​The reason kettlebells are so effective is because the weight of them is off center. This forces you to use your stabilizer muscles as you work out. Kettlebells also help you to target a wide range of specific muscles through a greater range of motion.

​Whether you’re just starting or you’re looking to amp up your current workouts, kettlebells can work for you. They are extremely popular because the high intensity workouts give you a lot of exertion in a short amount of time. They are perfect for building strength and for fat loss.

​Kettlebells also tend to be better for your joints, which is another reason they have gained a lot of popularity. Women, as well as men, like them because they are so amenable to any fitness goal. Once you learn the proper way to use a kettlebell, you can start working every muscle with just one compact device.

​Many women fall into the trap of focusing on aerobic exercises and not training your muscles. Women actually benefit from strength training just as much as men. Kettlebells are a great way to condition and tone your body without “beefing up” too much muscle mass.

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What Are the Main Benefits of Kettlebell Weights?

Kettlebell weights come in different sizes and shapes. However, despite the difference in shapes and sizes, kettlebells come with similar benefits. Some of the main benefits you can experience by using kettlebell weights include: 

What Weight Kettlebell Should A woman Start With?

Women who are complete kettlebell newbies should be looking to start around 18lbs. Almost every woman should be able to start at this weight. It might seem like it will be too heavy, but you will be pleasantly surprised by what you are capable of.

​Because kettlebell training is so different from other forms of weight training, you can start a little heavier than you would for some other types of exercises. In fact, going too light can be just as detrimental to your training as starting too heavy. With kettlebells, you need enough weight to engage your whole body.

​If you try to start with a weight that is too light, you can accidentally isolate your muscles and throw off your entire form. While 18 lbs might be too challenging for a beginner in other forms of lifting, with kettlebells you will be learning to use both your upper and lower body at the same time. If you start with a weight that is too light you will find it harder to progress in your training since you aren’t learning proper form.

With that said, starting too heavy can also be damaging to your form and increase the risk of injury. It is best to not try to overdo it or start too easy. Therefore, 18lbs is the sweet spot kettlebell weight for most female novices.

Woman swinging a kettlebell away from her body

​Are there any Exceptions?

​A woman who is older, or out of shape, may want to start with a slightly lower kettlebell weight. Elderly women can get a lot of benefit out of incorporating kettlebells into their exercise routine, but you want to start slow.

If you fit into one of these categories, you can go down to a 15 lb or possibly even a 12 lb kettlebell. However, once you have learned to handle a kettlebell correctly, you will find yourself moving up quickly. Conversely, a woman who has a strong background in other types of weight training could try starting as high as 25 lbs.

​What Are Some Different Kettlebell Exercises?

There are two different types of kettlebell exercises. The first is ballistics, which utilize the whole body and are done with very quick, explosive motions. The other type is grinds, which tend to isolate certain muscle groups and are done slower to create more tension.

​The rule of thumb is to pick heavier weights for ballistics, since they are using a larger number of muscles. An average or active woman should use between 18-26 lbs, while a woman in excellent shape should use around 35 lbs. Ballistic exercises include swings, cleans, and snatches.

​Grinds include exercises such as Turkish get ups and presses. These exercises have many moving parts and isolate specific muscles. It is more dangerous to pick a weight that is too heavy for these types of workouts.

​Average or active women should stick with 13-18 lbs for grinds. Very athletic women would want to be in the range of 18-26 lbs.

​What are your Fitness Goals?

Women who are beginning weight training may have different goals than men. For example, weight loss may be a priority for some, but others may be looking for toning or strengthening. No matter what the goal, kettlebells can be an effective tool to help you get there.

​When starting with kettlebells, it is best to set tangible and achievable goals. Setting a goal kettlebell weight is a great way to do this! For example, if you are starting swings at 18 lbs you might want to set your goal at 35 lbs.

​You will find that you are ready to move on from your 18lbs pretty quickly. A good guideline for when you know you’re ready to move up is when a set of 20 kettlebell swings has become easy and you feel completely confident.

​Similarly, a good test for when you’re ready to move up with grinds is when multiple Turkish get ups become easy and fluid.

How Much Weight Should You Lift to Tone Your Arms?

Woman trying to swing a kettlebell

For most fitness enthusiasts, the primary goal of lifting weights is to help tone muscles, especially the muscles located in the arm. The kettlebell weight you lift can help you achieve this goal without having to work too hard. For beginners, you can start with 8 kg kettlebells, which is roughly around 17 lbs, and work your way up to heavier kettlebells.

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Also, make sure you include the right amount of reps for each workout and have a proper diet plan. This will help you achieve your goal.

What Weight Should a Woman Lift to Tone?

When it comes to tone, women and men have different goals. Thus, the weight women lift will be completely different from what men lift. Therefore, make sure the kettlebell weight you lift is between 8 kg to 12 kg, or 17 lbs to 26 lbs.

This will help you achieve your goal of toning your muscles as you prevent your muscles from straining. It will also help you train your muscles accordingly.

Conclusion

​The kettlebell is a highly versatile training device that fits in with any fitness routine. Women can benefit just as much as men from training with kettlebells. Because form is so important in kettlebell training, make sure you are careful not to pick weights that are too light or too heavy.

​The weight a woman should start with in kettlebell training is approximately 18lbs. However, this can adjust depending on your age, fitness level, and type of workout. Remember to go lighter with grinds and heavier with ballistics. Overall, focus on technique and you should begin to see the results you want in no time.

Robert Lemus is natural competitor for 6 years, starting in Men’s Physique, then Bodybuilding, and then into Classic Physique. He is the Orange County Bodybuilding champion in 2016 for the Musclemania Organization. In 2018, he received his Pro Card with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in Classic Physique.